Responding to failure

We’ve all had to deal with the “F” word at some point in our professional careers, and we’ll likely have to deal with it again.

Of course, everyone defines failure on their own terms but no matter the severity of the failure, it seems most important how we deal with failure so that we don’t repeat the same processes that lead to a particular failure again.


Probably the best, and yet most difficult, way to deal with failure is to address it as quickly as possible.

Sometimes this takes a matter of hours, and sometimes it takes years. Whatever the timeframe, there are a few steps that I’ve learned to help deal with these moments:

  • Recognize: What happened?
  • Review: How did it happen?
  • Responsibility: Accept responsibility.
  • Retreat: When approached with similar circumstances, don’t retreat.
  • Remember: Will it happen again?

In looking at failure in the bigger picture, how do you want to be remembered? As someone who failed? Or as someone who failed, but dealt with it professionally, then moved on to continue progressing in your career?

Take Luis Castillo for instance.

On Friday, he made a blunder. A big blunder, in a big game, at a big point of the season:

Given all that, he owned up to his failure (lack of concentration), likely watched tape to see what had happened, took responsibility in front of the media (and his teammates), got right back in the lineup the next day and continued his stellar play this season.

A great response.

Oh, and go Mets.

Editor’s notes, 12/27/22:

  • Replaced video
  • Light edits to copy
  • Added sponsorship

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